- - Thursday, September 1, 2011

Balkan Muslim says murders spurred by film

A Balkan Muslim who killed two U.S. Air Force servicemen in March told a German judge Wednesday that he was motivated by the movie “Redacted,” which was made as a political statement in 2007 by Hollywood director Brian De Palma, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and several high-profile movie industry producers.

Arid Uka told the judge he murdered the two Americans after he watched the movie’s graphic depiction of U.S. soldiers raping a girl in Iraq, according to a BBC report.

“I thought what I saw in that video, these people would do in Afghanistan,” Mr. Uka told the court in Frankfurt. “What I did was wrong, but I cannot undo what I did.”

“I honestly had not heard about it,” said one “Redacted” producer, Jason Kliot. “I’m terribly sorry to hear that, but I don’t understand how my movie would impel anyone to commit murder.

“The real culprit here is the tragedy of war; it is not Brian De Palma’s brilliant film,” he said. “I don’t see how people would be made to commit acts of violence [after watching ‘Redacted’], any more than they would for watching Fox News.”

The movie - which also depicted U.S. soldiers as racist killers - was released as the U.S. stepped up its successful offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq, Saddam Hussein supporters and Iran-sponsored Shiite groups in 2006 and 2007.

The movie was widely praised in the movie industry and by left-of-center cultural groups. The movie and Mr. De Palma won awards at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, and it received a “Youth Jury Award” from the 2008 Amnesty International Film festival.

The movie made little money in the U.S. and European markets. According to IMDb.com, a website that tracks Hollywood movies and people, “Redacted” made $5 million.

When the movie was released, Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican who was the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, complained to the Motion Picture Association of America.

He said, “[The movie] portrays American service personnel in Iraq as uncontrollable misfits and criminals [and] ignores the many acts of heroism performed by our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors in Iraq.”

Public opinion also was mixed, with some critics calling the movie a “terrorist recruiting film.”

The movie’s plot was drawn from a 2006 episode in which five U.S. soldiers raped a girl and killed her and three family members. All involved were sentenced to up to 110 years.

“War movies … show the nature of war,” said Mr. Kliot, the film’s only producer to respond to emails and calls from the Daily Caller. “There is nothing more incendiary about telling the truth of what is happening in war.

“Do Americans kill people in wars? Yes [but] this is pro-American film, this is a pro-troops film [because it shows the consequences] when soldiers are put in an impossible position,” Mr. Kliot said.

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